Kings Beat Rangers, Snap Losing Streak


Tuesday, October 31st 2006, 6:24 am
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Los Angeles Kings took advantage of the New York Rangers' slow start to get a much-needed win.

Brent Sopel scored twice as the Kings outshot the Rangers 21-5 in the first period, and Los Angeles went on to a 4-1 victory Monday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

``We got the breaks, and the bounces went in tonight,'' said Los Angeles' Craig Conroy, who had two assists. ``That's something we hadn't experienced this season. I think it came down to the little things. We talked about winning faceoffs and finishing checks. All of the little things added up for us in a positive way. Hopefully, we can turn this thing around.''

Mathieu Garon made 28 saves, Alexander Frolov also scored and Sean Avery had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who won for only the second time in 11 games since beating the Islanders on Oct. 10.

``This is the way we have to play every night,'' Sopel said. ``We have to play with hard work. This is the best league in the world, and if you don't work hard you're not going to get the wins. Lately we've been working hard and not getting the bounces _ but tonight we did.''

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots and Brendan Shanahan scored for the Rangers, who were whistled for five penalties in the first period.

``We didn't answer the bell,'' Rangers coach Tom Renney said. ``You don't want to start too many games in the penalty box against a team that's been close in a number of games and is desperate for a win at home. Our goaltending was incredible tonight, but we didn't measure up to our goaltender's effort.''

In other NHL games Monday night, it was: Philadelphia 3, Chicago 0; Toronto 4, Atlanta 2; Anaheim 6, St. Louis 5 in a shootout; and Washington 4, Calgary 2.

New York was 0-for-9 on the power play in its first game at Los Angeles since Dec. 31, 2003, when Tom Poti's overtime goal beat the Kings 3-2. The attendance was 17,236 _ 882 short of a sellout. It was the first time a Rangers-Kings game at Los Angeles did not draw a full house since Nov. 2, 1995, when 14,358 showed up at the 16,005-seat Forum.

Sopel, who missed the previous two games with a sore foot after blocking a shot in Wednesday's loss at Minnesota, opened the scoring at 5:06 of the first period with the teams skating 4-on-4. He scored again at 10:52 with 35 seconds still remaining on Marek Malik's hooking penalty.

``We talked about them being a better team than their record indicated,'' Shanahan said. ``They came out and had a great first period and we didn't start playing until the second period. But by then they had built a significant lead. The penalties were a reflection of us not being ready to play.''

Frolov, who scored his first NHL goal against the Rangers back in October 2002 at Madison Square Garden, made it 3-0 at 1:31 of the second period by redirecting Conroy's centering feed past Lundqvist.

``It looked like we had no legs, for some reason,'' Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr said. ``We had a choice _ let them skate by us or take a penalty, and we took penalties. They kind of dominated us in that first period, and we couldn't come back because their goalie was playing so good.''

Garon, starting in place of the struggling Dan Cloutier, stopped the first 20 shots he faced before Shanahan scored his 10th goal of the season and 608th of his career. It tied Shanahan with Dino Ciccarelli for 13th place all-time and put him within two of Bobby Hull's total. But the Kings responded less than 2 minutes later with Avery's goal.

Flyers 3, Blackhawks 0

Peter Forsberg scored twice, including a spectacular goal in the third period, Robert Esche made 26 saves for his 10th career shutout, and host Philadelphia won for just the third time in 11 games this season.

Brian Boucher, playing his third straight game in replacing the injured Nikolai Khabibulin, stopped 32 shots as Chicago dropped its fifth straight _ the last three by shutout _ after winning three of four. Khabibulin is expected to be sidelined one to two weeks because of a broken finger.

Maple Leafs 4, Thrashers 2

Darcy Tucker scored two power-play goals for Toronto, which beat visiting Atlanta for the eighth straight time. Tomas Kaberle and Jeff O'Neill scored for the Maple Leafs, who won consecutive games for the first time this season.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Brad Larsen scored for Atlanta, which lost for just the second time this season in regulation. The Thrashers were playing for the first time since snapping Buffalo's season-opening winning streak at 10.

Ducks 6, Blues 5, SO

At St. Louis, Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf scored in the shootout for Anaheim, which tied idle Buffalo with an NHL-high 21 points.

St. Louis tied it with two goals over the final 5:10 of regulation. Keith Tkachuk scored his first of the season on a power play to make it 5-4, Radek Dvorak tied it with 1:04 to play.

Capitals 4, Flames 2

Richard Zednik, recently demoted to Washington's fourth line, got his first two goals of the season and Dainius Zubrus also scored twice. Zednick's second gave the visiting Capitals a 3-1 lead at 10:27 of the third.

Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius scored for Calgary, which is 1-4-1 in its last six games.